Monday, April 30, 2007

Wait, what colour is it again?



One day in the life of the London Free Press

Opposition backs Gore stance
The onslaught of criticism over the government's new green plan continued yesterday, with opposition leaders coming to the defence of former U.S. vice-president Al Gore's scathing remarks.

May preaches green gospel
Preaching in London about the threat of climate change, Green party Leader Elizabeth May brought herself to tears yesterday, not for children who will inherit the Earth, but for the God she believes created it.

Earth Day turnout way up
Perfect weather and a renewed interest in all things green drew what may have been a record crowd yesterday to Earth Day festivities in London.

Nuns' home gold standard in green
Their roots lie in 17th-century France, but the Sisters of St. Joseph in London are in the vanguard of Canada's green movement today.

Businesses push green initiatives

Every business wants to look green, but last week one got a rare chance to become the public face for corporate responsibility on the environment in Canada.

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John Stossel on Prager

Dennis Prager interviews ABC correspondent John Stossel on Stossel's book "Myths, Lies, and Downright Stupidity", a debunker's catalogue of humbuggery ranging from public education through ethanol-as-fuel. (MP3)

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Al Gore is full of Carbon Credits

Though Al Gore admitted he has "no right to interfere" with Canadian politics, it didn't stop him from opening his carbon spewing trap:

Al Gore condemned Canada's new plan to reduce greenhouse gases, saying it was "a complete and total fraud" because it lacks specifics and gives industry a way to actually increase emissions.
Setting aside for the moment the massive carbon footprint of traveling Gore, there is growing evidence that the message of "An Inconvenient Truth" is a complete and total fraud.

Exhibit A. Professor William Gray's research has led him to believe ocean currents are the cause of global warming:
Dr Gray, 77, has long criticised the theory that heat-trapping gases generated by human activity are causing the world to warm.

Earlier this month, he dubbed former US vice-president and 2000 Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore "a gross alarmist" for making the Oscar-winning documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, which helped focus media attention on global warming.

Yesterday, Dr Gray said that politics and research into global warming had created "almost an industry" that had frightened the public and overwhelmed dissenting voices.

He said research arguing that humans were causing global warming was "mush" based on unreliable computer models that could not possibly take into account the hundreds of factors that influenced the weather.
Exhibit B. Two scientists in Ottawa also deny global warming is caused by human carbon emissions:
The current debate about global warming is "completely irrational," and people need to start taking a different approach, say two Ottawa scientists.

Carleton University science professor Tim Patterson said global warming will not bring about the downfall of life on the planet.

Patterson said much of the up-to-date research indicates that "changes in the brightness of the sun" are almost certainly the primary cause of the warming trend since the end of the "Little Ice Age" in the late 19th century. Human emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), the gas of concern in most plans to curb climate change, appear to have little effect on global climate, he said.

"I think the proof in the pudding, based on what (media and governments) are saying, (is) we're about three quarters of the way (to disaster) with the doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere," said Patterson. "The world should be heating up like crazy by now, and it's not. The temperatures match very closely with the solar cycles."

Patterson explained CO2 is not a pollutant, but an essential plant food.

Billions of taxpayers' dollars are spent to control the emissions of this benign gas, in the mistaken belief that they can stop climate change, he said.

"The only constant about climate is change," said Patterson.
Exhibit C. The climate on Mars changes too:
Mars is being hit by rapid climate change and it is happening so fast that the red planet could lose its southern ice cap, writes Jonathan Leake.

Scientists from Nasa say that Mars has warmed by about 0.5C since the 1970s. This is similar to the warming experienced on Earth over approximately the same period.

Since there is no known life on Mars it suggests rapid changes in planetary climates could be natural phenomena.
cp: Mitchieville

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Fantino and McGuinty run away from Caledonia

Crime is not our problem, says Police Chief Julian Fantino. Singing along to a Twisted Sister tune, Fantino said we're not gonna take it anymore:

Aboriginal land claims and issues surrounding conflicts in Caledonia and Deseronto are federal matters and there has to be a response from Ottawa, the commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police said Saturday.

Julian Fantino said the current conflicts and the potential for future ones have put a lot of pressure on OPP resources.

He also complained his force has been unfairly treated by the media and some politicians in dealing with the year-old standoff in Caledonia, south of Hamilton.

"Enough is enough now and we're just not going to take it anymore," a frustrated Fantino told reporters after addressing a meeting of the Radio-Television News Directors Association in Toronto.

"Police are neither the cause of the problem, nor are they the solution to the problem," he said.
A few weeks back, Fantino sent out an email suggesting the OPP would stop policing Caledonia, though many would argue the OPP stopped policing the town when the occupation began. But never mind Caledonia. Fantino has more important matters to concern himself with, like seatbelt violations.
Among other issues concerning his force Fantino listed traffic safety.

"Just to give you an idea," he said, in OPP patrolled highways last year, we had 444 people killed, 113 of those with no seat belts and a good number of those were impaired."

He listed "speed, alcohol, drugs and lack of respect for the rules of the road" as contributing factors to what he called "a tragedy in our highways."

The OPP is much more visible on the highways and is working to be more proactive in targeting violators, Fantino said.

"We're talking about changing people's habits and attitudes and that's going to take a while, but we're going to stay with it."
cp: Dust my Broom

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Sunday, April 29, 2007

Electoral deform

What if we elected governments through London Free Press online polls? Check out today's poll (image captured at 22:30):



1624 votes and counting — London Free Press polls regularly receive between 300 and 500 votes. Someone should be commended for making so demonstrative a mockery of these ridiculous ornaments.

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Motivism

Irene Mathyssen, MP for London Free Press, remarks:

"I find it offensive that money is motivating him. Money is not motivating me. I am concerned about the health of our community."
Given that Mathyssen's proprietary conception of "the health of our community" requires banning a part of his business, taking offence at his money is certainly a useful attitude to take. But not to leave anyone out, however, Mathyssen is also offended by everyone else's money as well.

It's a curious thing that in response to someone who uses money to make a point, the person who isn't motivated by money immediately thinks that money is the point.

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Friday, April 27, 2007

When do trousers go for $65 million?

When they belong to a lawyer.

[Hat tip to Protein Wisdom and apologies to Little Tobacco.]

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Imaginary problems…

…require imaginary solutions. Hey, there's some easy money to be made from that!

A Financial Times investigation has uncovered widespread failings in the new markets for greenhouse gases, suggesting some organisations are paying for emissions reductions that do not take place.

Others are meanwhile making big profits from carbon trading for very small expenditure and in some cases for clean-ups that they would have made anyway.

… The FT investigation found:

■ Widespread instances of people and organisations buying worthless credits that do not yield any reductions in carbon emissions.

■ Industrial companies profiting from doing very little – or from gaining carbon credits on the basis of efficiency gains from which they have already benefited substantially.

■ Brokers providing services of questionable or no value.

■ A shortage of verification, making it difficult for buyers to assess the true value of carbon credits.

■ Companies and individuals being charged over the odds for the private purchase of European Union carbon permits that have plummeted in value because they do not result in emissions cuts.
More. Via Small Dead Animals.

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A-tisket

Ontario ripe for ecological disasters
Thu, April 26, 2007

Fortunately, the imminent suggestion of imminent peril is only due to a shortage of bureaucrats … nothing a extra whack of taxes can't fix. If the civil service environment is not protected, degree graduates trained to produce speculative studies on imminent perils face habitat loss and gradual extinction.

This quote from the article must be a transcription error:
"I don't argue that investments in our environment and natural resources is the right thing to do," [minister of natural resources David Ramsay] said. "We've been starting to do that."
Otherwise, it's a rare and honest admission of political procedure — to make policy exactly contrary to beliefs.

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A-tasket

Loss of farmland 'serious'
Thu, April 26, 2007

If idle impressions, reflexive anti-development sentiments, or study-driven speculations to drive more studies won't have you palsying in a generalized fear, then just trust a graduate student — chances are they're well trained in all of the above.
"It is quite serious," says [Bronwynne] Wilton, a University of Guelph graduate student.

"People have become complacent because it is so easy to go to a grocery store and there is food from all over the world readily available at quite reasonable prices. People have become disconnected from the agricultural industry and the food system."

While there are no signs of an immediate food shortage, Wilton warns situations can change, especially in an era of global security concerns and terrorism.
I wouldn't dare deny that situations can change, of course — no one needs a degree or a newspaper to figure that out. Similarly, I wouldn't deny that farmland could become much more valuable for agricultural use than for building someday, but then that very value would confront the "serious" problem, so it's not exactly very serious right now, is it? But the point of Sun Media's exercise, and Wilton's, is to invoke a fear of conceivable but not inevitable events and, without suggesting a precise answer to this fear, to invoke a precautionary impulse — by default, an entreaty for the precautionary principle to applied in thought and action. In thought, a general paralysis among the afflicted citizenry, which leaves action uncontested to government regulation. Good luck with that — even Wilton acknowledges the unintended urban sprawl consequences of the government's greenbelt regulations. If the precautionary principle had been applied in earnest forty years ago, technology wouldn't have even been allowed to increase agricultural efficiency to the point that only a fraction of former farmland is now needed to produce food.

Fortunately, the reliance on aimless principles tend to paralyse even advocates and government into empty rhetoric. A meeting of the local Real Estate Institute of Canada appropriately hinged on "creative" solutions to urban growth.
The bottom line is, growth is OK, if it's sustainable," said Mark Seasons of the University of Waterloo's school of planning.
If farmland is an absolute commodity that cannot be transmuted in value through innovation or "situations," as these alarmist scenarios are meant to suggest, then no growth is sustainable, if it's not too late already. This is just the meaningless nonsense of a sycophant of arbitrary authority to appease its amiable pretensions of moderation and reasonableness. The empty rhetoric goes a long way to tricking themselves of their own importance in solving problems and even into implementing some piecemeal regulations that hamper and add cost burdens to private initiatives and innovative solutions. But at least they can be counted on to stay a few steps behind.

In the meantime, though, gotta keep working on getting those sympathetic sentiments:

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A green and yellow basket

London touted as key for climate protection
Thu, April 26, 2007

It would be nice if it were true, but contrary to appearances London is in fact responsible for only a fraction of the hot air being blown around on the global scale. Nevertheless, capping London would create an important symbolic gesture for the rest of the world.

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Thursday, April 26, 2007

Government inspired Dental Porn

Drizzten's one tonne challenge:

Kindly tell the next person who claims we live in a free country to SHUT THE FUCK UP.

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God is what you make of it

Pascal's empty wager, Debunked, yet again:

While Pascal deserves his reputation as a brilliant mathematician, his wager was never more than a cute (and false) analogy. Like many cute ideas in philosophy, it is easily remembered and often repeated, and this has lent it an undeserved air of profundity. If the wager were valid, it could be used to justify any belief system (no matter how ludicrous) as a “good bet.” Muslims could use it to support the claim that Jesus was not divine (the Koran states that anyone who believes in the divinity of Jesus will wind up in hell); Buddhists could use it to support the doctrine of karma and rebirth; and the editors of TIME could use it to persuade the world that anyone who reads Newsweek is destined for a fiery damnation.

But the greatest problem with the wager—and it is a problem that infects religious thinking generally—is its suggestion that a rational person can knowingly will himself to believe a proposition for which he has no evidence. A person can profess any creed he likes, of course, but to really believe something, he must also believe that the belief under consideration is true. To believe that there is a God, for instance, is to believe that you are not just fooling yourself; it is to believe that you stand in some relation to God’s existence such that, if He didn’t exist, you wouldn’t believe in him. How does Pascal’s wager fit into this scheme? It doesn’t.

Beliefs are not like clothing: comfort, utility, and attractiveness cannot be one’s conscious criteria for acquiring them. It is true that people often believe things for bad reasons—self-deception, wishful thinking, and a wide variety of other cognitive biases really do cloud our thinking—but bad reasons only tend to work when they are unrecognized. Pascal’s wager suggests that a rational person can knowingly believe a proposition purely out of concern for his future gratification. I suspect no one ever acquires his religious beliefs in this way (Pascal certainly didn’t). But even if some people do, who could be so foolish as to think that such beliefs are likely to be true?
HT: Uncommon Sense

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We're all going to die

Take a good hard look at how the government manages the economy, and consider what would happen if the government started messing with the weather directly. James R Fleming, professor of science, technology, and society at Colby College, in Waterville, Maine, considers just that question in an article published in the The Wilson Quarterly:

The inherent unknowability of what would happen if we tried to tinker with the immensely complex planetary climate system is one reason why climate engineering has until recently been spoken of only sotto voce in the scientific community. Many researchers recognize that even the most brilliant scientists have a history of blindness to the wider ramifications of their work. Imagine, for example, that Wood’s scheme to thicken the Arctic icecap did somehow become possible. While most of the world may want to maintain or increase polar sea ice, Russia and some other nations have historically desired an ice-free Arctic ocean, which would liberate shipping and open potentially vast oil and mineral deposits for exploitation. And an engineered Arctic ice sheet would likely produce shorter growing seasons and harsher winters in Alaska, Siberia, Greenland, and elsewhere, and could generate super winter storms in the midlatitudes. Yet Wood calls his brainstorm a plan for “global climate stabilization,” and hopes to create a sort of “planetary thermostat” to regulate the global climate.

Who would control such a “thermostat,” making life-altering decisions for the planet’s billions? What is to prevent other nations from undertaking unilateral climate modification? The United States has no monopoly on such dreams. In November 2005, for example, Yuri Izrael, head of the ­Moscow-based Institute of Global Climate and Ecology Studies, wrote to Russian president Vladimir Putin to make the case for immediately burning massive amounts of sulfur in the stratosphere to lower the earth’s temperature “a degree or two”—a correction greater than the total warming since pre-industrial times.

There is, moreover, a troubling motif of militarization in the history of weather and climate control. Military leaders in the United States and other countries have pondered the possibilities of weaponized weather manipulation for decades.

[..] Ultimate control of the weather and climate excites some of our wildest fantasies and our greatest fears. It is the stuff of age-old myths. Throughout history, we mortals have tried to protect ourselves against harsh weather. But weather control was reserved for the ancient sky gods. Now the power has seemingly devolved to modern Titans.

[..] Largely unaware of the long and checkered history of weather and climate control and the political and ethical challenges it poses, or somehow considering themselves exempt, the new Titans see themselves as heroic pioneers, the first generation capable of alleviating or averting natural disasters. They are largely oblivious to the history of the charlatans and sincere but deluded scientists and engineers who preceded them. If we fail to heed the lessons of that history, and fail to bring its perspectives to bear in thinking about public policy, we risk repeating the mistakes of the past, in a game with much higher stakes.
Via Drudge, ht: The Informed Reader

It's a rather lengthly article, but worth the read. Of note is Professor Fleming's discussion of previous attempts to placate the sun gods.

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Flick off Government

Apparently banning "inefficient lightbulbs" isn't good enough for the Ontario Liberals. In partnership with billionaire Richard Branson, the government is spending $500,000 of taxpayers dollars on a campaign to encourage young people to "Flick Off." The ad campaign has left many people "flicked off."

The campaign against climate change – launched Wednesday by Environment Minister Laurel Broten and billionaire Richard Branson – encourages youth to "FLICK OFF."

The slogan's font is clearly designed to make flick look like a four-letter-word. New Democrat Peter Kormos reacted by saying it "blows his flicking mind" how Broten could be involved with the campaign, which includes stickers and T-shirts.

"The minister of the environment is telling people to 'flick off,' " Kormos said. "Parents are going to be flicking embarrassed. They have enough to deal with without a minister of the environment and a government who doesn't give a flick about their children's language."

"I think it's a flicking embarrassment."
It's worse than embarrassing. It's a flicking waste of our money. Unfortunately, Kormos is more upset with the choice of slogan than the message of the campaign, which is faithfully parroted by the media each and everyday. According to the official website devoted to the scam,
We only have ten years to dramatically reduce our emissions or we're screwed.
Turn off those lights so there will be more energy for the government to produce shirts and stickers to promote awareness of the changing seasons.

cp: Dust my Broom

UPDATE: In comments at Dust my Broom, Fergy points to a Western Standard post that includes this picture of Ontario's Environment Minister:


UPDATE THE SECOND from Mike: I know I've seen that lovely, inviting face before... oh yeah! My CD rack!

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Exit Folkhemssverige

O mighty Snake God Set, wherefore have you abandoned the multicultural and sensitive Swedish aboriginals? Where is the rainbow of fruit flavours that you promised? Where are the folk festivals and spicy foods, the nondiscriminational community of sharing and learning? The triumph over heteronormativity seems ever so far away...

Feriz and Pajtim, members of Gangsta Albanian Thug Unit in Malmö, explain how they mug people downtown. They target a lone victim. “We surround him and beat and kick him until he no longer fights back,” Feriz said. “You are always many more people than your victims. Cowardly?” “I have heard that from many, but I disagree. The whole point is that they're not supposed to have a chance.” They didn't express any sympathy for their victims. "If they get injured, they just have themselves to blame for being weak," said Pajtim and shrugged.

The wave of robberies the city of Malmö has witnessed is part of a “war against the Swedes.” This is the explanation given by young robbers from immigrant background in interviews with Petra Åkesson. “When we are in the city and robbing we are waging a war, waging a war against the Swedes.” This argument was repeated several times. “Power for me means that the Swedes shall look at me, lie down on the ground and kiss my feet.” The boys explain, laughingly, that “there is a thrilling sensation in your body when you're robbing, you feel satisfied and happy, it feels as if you've succeeded, it simply feels good.” “We rob every single day, as often as we want to, whenever we want to. The Swedes don't do anything, they just give us the stuff. They're so wimpy.”

“Exit Folkhemssverige - En samhällsmodells sönderfall” (Exit the People's Home of Sweden - The Downfall of a Model of Society) is a book from 2005 about immigration and the Swedish welfare state model dubbed “the people's home,” written by Jonathan Friedman, Ingrid Björkman, Jan Elfverson and Åke Wedin. According to them, the Swedish Multicultural elites see themselves first of all as citizens of the world. In order to emphasize and accentuate diversity, everything Swedish is deliberately disparaged. Opposition to this policy is considered a form of racism:

“The dominant ideology in Sweden, which has been made dominant by powerful methods of silencing and repression, is a totalitarian ideology, where the elites oppose the national aspect of the nation state. The problem is that the ethnic group that are described as Swedes implicitly are considered to be nationalists, and thereby are viewed as racists.”

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

When did Quakers…

…turn into the sincere American version of the United Church of Canada?

Welcome to the Quaker-run K-8 Cambridge Friends School (Cambridge, Massachusetts) 4th annual Gay and Lesbian Pride Day assembly.

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Earth Day?

How about Economic Progress Day?

Oh I know, I know. Every day is Economic Progress Day. It's only fair to set aside one day to celebrate reflexive guilt and emotional bromides.

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Soft Fragile Eggshell Minds

A musical interlude with the classic Sun City Girls track.

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Oakland…

…way too close to San Francisco.

"He always had a smile on his face," said a 22-year-old man who identified himself as a rapper named Little Al. "He was a solid dude, loyal."

He didn't express any anger at the pizzeria owner for shooting his friend. "Life happens," he said. "I'm not upset, you feel me? You wouldn't want it to happen, but it happened. Ain't no telling why that shooting occurred."
Yeah, ain't no telling that.

HT: Curmudgeonly & Skeptical

Update, April 25: One Cosmos on the sixth commandment of nihilism, Thou Shalt not Kill, but Murder is Fine.
…the sixth commandment is there to remind all of us would-be murderers that you shouldn't do that. I don't know when or why it was ever erroneously translated as "thou shalt not kill," since killing has no no intrinsic moral consequence one way or the other. Ironically, leftist nihilists rarely cite the Ten Commandments, but you will often hear them cite "thou shalt not kill" in support of their nihilist policies. Interesting that they misinterpret the one commandment of which they approve.

And the reason they misinterpret this particular commandment is that it dovetails nicely with their deeply nihilistic and pacifist tendencies. For when you conflate murder and killing, you do two things: first, you minimize and even trivialize the horror of murder -- very similar to feminists who trivialize the horror of rape by equating it with any sex a woman regrets on the following day. But secondly, you convert the use of lethal violence against evil, which is a moral necessity, into something bad. Once again, you have overturned the moral order of the world.
Read the rest.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Getting the dissemblance fix

From the Regina Leader-Post, after Al Gore's brief "Hello Springfield!" Saskatchewan flyover:

Environment Minister John Nilson said Opposition missed the point of Gore's speech, that what's happening with the globe is above politics.
Shouldn't politics be returning the favour then?

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Live Aid, rhetorically speaking

"To be honest, I haven't been seen on TV caring about anything for at least three days…"



HT: Mitchieville

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Keeping it unreal

It would be a curious fact that the jobs of politicians never become redundant, except when one remembers that they are absolutely essential for hardening and inflating perceptions for the never-ending battle against reality.

From Tart Cider:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
APRIL 24, 2007

NDP MPs CALL FOR REMOVAL OF DAIRY QUEEN COMMERCIAL

OTTAWA – Brian Masse (Windsor West) and Joe Comartin (Windsor-Tecumseh) will be holding a press conference tomorrow to discuss Dairy Queen Canada’s refusal to pull its recent TV ad for Kit Kat Blizzards.

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 25 PARLIAMENT HILL

Time: 11:00
Place: Charles Lynch Press Room
130-S Centre Block
Update, April 25: This is ridiculous.
The commercial will stop airing this Sunday. But one NDP MP who's spoken out about the controversy was still upset last night.

"It's continued corporate irresponsibility from Dairy Queen," said Windsor West MP Brian Masse, who is holding an Ottawa news conference today about the commercial. "I just can't believe they wouldn't want to conclude this with a public apology."
Outrage peacocks may imagine for the sake of their strut that an ad agency in the U.S. deliberately targeted a Southwestern Ontario's tragic but isolated misfortune for ridicule, and they're free to flatter their pretension as such, but for goodness sake don't give them coverage.

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Monday, April 23, 2007

How carbon markets work

According to many politicians lining up behind the idea of greening the economy, cap-and-trade carbon markets are an ideal market-based solution to the problem of carbon emissions and, far from hindering the economy, promise economic opportunity instead by rewarding carbon efficiency with credits to sell as a sort of added value asset to a company's stock. Of course, by themselves markets would never in the first place have come up with the idea of trading something so intrinsically valueless as regulatory room for carbon outputs unless an artificial value had been forced on it through regulated scarcity, so calling it a market-based solution is a bit of corruption of idiom designed to confuse and mislead. Nevertheless, market actors will naturally respond to incentives even if they are artificial and arbitrary in making, and it is this characteristic of markets that political actors hope to steer to a desired effect. One must first suppose, of course, that the politicians who hope to be in charge of the carbon market regime will be somehow more immune to corruption in the allocation of carbon caps than they are in their use of language to promote it.

But it turns out in any case that, as a proposition, economic opportunity itself is of far more interest to politicians as an abstract quality relating to vote potential than it is to businesses acting in the market. Businesses, we find out, are far more interested in financial opportunities instead. So what's the quickest and easiest path to carbon efficiency and realize the financial opportunity of marketable space under an emissions cap? As this post in the National Review shows, the most efficient method is to just stop making things, or stop making things in countries that impose caps and move production to countries that don't.

Now, in Galicia, a manufacturer announced that last year it earned more from selling credits than ceramics (reminding me of an email I once got in which a French pharma company announced that selling credits was where its future lies, not pharmaceuticals).

Their statement was couched in terms of thanking the government for generously (that is, "over-") allocating ETS credits to them (for free, as industry lobbyists already demand of Congress), and noted that with the credit price having skyrocketed (before collapsing) they were able to reap a windfall by selling what the government had given them. They lamented that the price collapse, however, indicated this wasn't, er, sustainable.

Buried in this however was the phrase that, taking that price spike into account, they had decided to "equalibriate" their operations so as to maximize profits with an ideal mix of selling allocations and using them by, well, using electricity to make stuff...which is to say they also went into the business of making nothing, dedicating more of their operations to the task, which is far less labor intensive. That is, they found it more profitable to partially shut down, to idle workers.
Political interventions in the market are designed to promote political objectives — it would be naive to suppose that they are actively calculated with genuine understanding or regard for the market at the same time. Even if an effectively unchecked exercise of control in any aspect of the market did not result in at least some corruption counter-productive to the scheme's intent — an unlikely prospect — its exterior and pre-eminent motives will result in perverse consequences for the market.

Paying people to make nothing is just the cost of doing business in the green economy. It's a sound scheme only as long as the money to pay for it is made from nothing as well. To be sure, there are financial opportunities at least in the green economy, but real economics will trudge on its implacable way without it.

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Sheryl Crow trades her Cottonelle credits for some athletic socks

The Smoking Gun obtains a copy of Sheryl Crow's performance contract. In addition to a lengthy and detailed request for booze and junk food, parking for 3 tractor trailers, 4 buses and 6 cars is required as close as possible to the stage "but not to be visible or obtrusive to the audience". The elaborate CO2 emitting performances should be enough to set off the hypocrite alarm, but there's no accounting for logic, as Al Gore also has an extensive entourage. Toilet paper is absent from the list, though "8 pairs of 100% cotton good quality black socks (athletic type)", and toilet facilities with hand soap are required:

One private room will be required for SHERYL CROW. This should be comfortably furnished with couches, coffee tables and shower / toilet facilities. One large (team size) room with be required for the Band. It must be equipped with a full length mirror, a sink, private toilet facilities, hand soap, three large and many small ashtrays. Each room should have 2X20 amp circuits. The room must be outfitted with comfortable furniture, coffee tables etc. to accommodate 8 people.
cp: The Broom

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London considering a crackdown on jaywalkers

In response to a plea from Sgt. Tom O'Brien, the city's environment and transportation committee (ETC) is considering tougher penalties for jaywalking.

"When a pedestrian chooses to jaywalk by stepping off the curb onto the street . . . they interfere with the right-of-way of someone legally using the roadway," O'Brien wrote in an e-mail to Coun. Harold Usher, who chairs the city committee. "I believe there should be a reasonable recourse regarding enforcement."

O'Brien said officers can issue a hefty $130 fine -- a move officers are reluctant to take -- under a little-used city by-law that prohibits someone from interfering with public travel or use of a street.

O'Brien is recommending the ETC amend city by-laws to prohibit pedestrians from jaywalking or interfering with traffic.

He wants officers to be able to issue a $40 fine -- the same fine issued for pedestrians who disobey red or amber lights and crossing signals.

Making jaywalking illegal under a city bylaw "would add a tool to the toolbox that would make the roads safer for pedestrians," O'Brien wrote.
As there is already a law in place prohibiting pedestrians from interfering with public travel, jaywalkers who actually interfere with traffic flow can currently be charged under existing laws. The only thing that this amendment would add is more money for the statists pockets as they could then fine people for falling outside of designated crossing lines.

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Sunday, April 22, 2007

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Saturday, April 21, 2007

Sheryl Crow recommends toilet paper rationing

Via Hot Air, "Green Earth = Brown Hand": Sheryl Crow recommends reducing the number of squares of toilet paper you use to save the forest. (HT: Curmudgeonly Skeptical)

Although my ideas are in the earliest stages of development, they are, in my mind, worth investigating. One of my favorites is in the area of forest conservation which we heavily rely on for oxygen. I propose a limitation be put on how many squares of toilet paper can be used in any one sitting. Now, I don't want to rob any law-abiding American of his or her God-given rights, but I think we are an industrious enough people that we can make it work with only one square per restroom visit, except, of course, on those pesky occasions where 2 to 3 could be required. When presenting this idea to my younger brother, who's judgment I trust implicitly, he proposed taking it one step further. I believe his quote was, "how bout just washing the one square out."
One ply or two? I'm surprised she isn't following the example of these people, who have stopped using toilet paper completely. Better start stocking up folks, just in case.

cp: Dust My Broom

CRITICAL EARTH DAY UPDATE: YouTube provides the solution.

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Friday, April 20, 2007

Barack Obama likens Cho Seung-Hui to Don Imus

HT: Radley Balko writing for Hit and Run.

Obama equates "verbal violence" with the senseless slaughter of innocent people:

"There's also another kind of violence that we're going to have to think about. It's not necessarily the physical violence, but the violence that we perpetrate on each other in other ways," he said, and goes on to catalogue other forms of "violence."

There's the "verbal violence" of Imus.

There's "the violence of men and women who have worked all their lives and suddenly have the rug pulled out from under them because their job is moved to another country."

There's "the violence of children whose voices are not heard in communities that are ignored,"

And so, Obama says, "there's a lot of different forms of violence in our society, and so much of it is rooted in our incapacity to recognize ourselves in each other."

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"How times have changed"

Far Rockaway High School 1957 Rifle Team, New York City, via The Volokh Conspiracy

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David Suzuki says a recession is good for the planet

David Suzuki's carbon spewing excursion across the country has ended, but his contribution to global hysteria continues:

After a cross-country tour in which he heard from thousands of people in more than 40 cities, the veteran broadcaster and author says Canadians are ready for a carbon tax that would penalize wasteful use of energy and reward efficiency.

"I think they're willing to suck it in and accept that they're going to have to pay more but they want it to be fair.

[..] Asked about government claims that meeting Kyoto targets would cause a recession, Suzuki said unchecked global warming will cost the economy more than the two world wars put together and bring about a global depression, "the likes of which we have never ever seen."
Why? Because David Suzuki says so, though his adherents don't understand how the pyramid scheme works.
Suzuki said Canadians are confused about how Kyoto works, but they understand it is an international law that Canada has signed, and they want its targets to be met.

"They don't understand the details of it, but whenever I would say in my speeches at 41 different communities, 'Canada has an obligation and we want to meet the target,' people would burst into applause, every single time."
Even Al Snore can't make that claim, thanks to climate change deniers at Concordia University. Stalin's speeches always ended in thunderous applause too, but it doesn't make his totalitarian ramblings true.

ht: Dust my Broom

cp: Mitchieville

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Headline-writing ability among the deceased…

At the London Free Press:

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The vampire that keeps on sucking

Were need sufficient to make body-part harvesting righteous in the absence of consent, there would be no moral reason not to snatch kidneys from healthy individuals by force.

Paul McKeever, Leader of the Freedom Party of Ontario
Responding to a shortage of organ donations, back in February of this year two Ontario MPPs put forth private members bills that would force you to take action to prevent the government from seizing your remains. Conservative MPP Frank Klees wants the province to deny people a health card and a driver's license should they refuse to disclose their intentions to the government.
Conservative Frank Klees' bill - which will be discussed at a legislative committee Thursday - would require everyone renewing or applying for a driver's licence or health card in Ontario to declare their willingness to donate their organs, decline to donate them or say they haven't made up their mind yet.

If someone doesn't complete the organ donor questionnaire, Klees said the application would be rejected as incomplete.

"We're simply asking people to complete the full application," Klees said, adding anyone can say they are undecided. "It should be a no-brainer for people to simply say this is part of the application. This is not a major issue for someone unless they want to make it that."
Klees says the law would create jobs for bureaucrats promote awareness. So why not just print off a bunch of posters and pamphlets and distribute them to the local library? Because in Ontario, it's acceptable to withhold government monopolized services to force consent.

NDP MPP Peter Kormos' bill would assume consent was given to the state to harvest your organs unless you opt out of the plan.
Kormos, who has a bill before the legislature that would make everyone an automatic organ donor unless they opt out, said Klees' bill won't increase donations because it gives people an easy way out.

"It's just a modest variation of the current system and it's the current system that's failing people on that waiting list," he said. "What we need is a radical change in the culture around organ donation."

The state should not assume that a person consents to give his parts to the government after death anymore than it should not assume that a person consents to giving his bank account to the government after death.

Ayn Steyn, in comments, here.
Update: Janet posting on Bureaucrash:
And you thought socialized medicine was our biggest problem.

Well, it is our biggest problem - this is just a more upsetting manifestation of it. Something your average socialist always forgets is that once it's being paid for by the state, the state can (and will, if you don't obey) take it away.

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The high price of cheap labour

City hall is angling to put council's pay back into the political arena, where it has elsewhere rewarded politicians at every level with huge pay increases. From the London Free Press:

City staff are setting the terms for a citizens' committee to review the political pay, the focus likely to include salaries and any extras for serving on boards and commissions, pensions and expenses. Who will sit on that group, and when its work will be done, hasn't been nailed down.
Since 1998, annual remuneration increases for elected officials in London have been set by policy at the lesser of the Ontario Consumer Price Index or Labour Index. This is a decent attempt to remove politics — which tends of course to serve mostly politicians, as well as their sponsors and beneficiaries — from consideration of what deputy mayor Tom Gosnell calls "a very difficult issue for everybody." Needless to say, however, the policy is set by politicians; at best, politicians have only temporarily volunteered to refrain from politics. The armistice is over for some:
Coun. Bernie MacDonald, said council's pay is so relatively low, it's ridiculed by other civic politicians or angers them. "When other councils are having their (wages) reviewed and London's is used as a comparison, it brings down the average. When I'm at FCM (the Federation of Canadian Municipalities) meetings, I've had many of them come up to me and ask, 'What's wrong with London?'"
I don't think that this kind of comparison shopping is likely to stir up much sympathy except among other politicians, but it's a common rationale for hiking wages. Little wonder, because it drives an endless escalation. But these kinds of comparisons are almost always idle and misleading for the failure to factor into account other compensation benefits that politicians receive — tax-free pay bases and allowances, for example. Councillors in London receive one-third of their salary tax-free, making their taxable equivalents much higher, and receive at least one $5,400 allowance of which I am aware.

In any case, it's distinctly odd that MacDonald of all people should be complaining — salaries have not deterred him from acting as a councillor for… well, I don't know how long, but it's been as long as I can remember. Hey, $31,414 a year, which works out to be the taxable equivalent of $40,482 because of the tax-free base, is after all a pretty good deal for a part-time job, if you can get it. And there's never been a shortage of people trying to get in on the deal, either, which pretty much wraps up another common rationale for hiking wages — competitive pricing, which supposes that high salaries are necessary to recruit people into the position.

But there's a caveat to the competitive pricing rationale that merits attention — the idea that salaries should be priced to attract competent politicians. OK… so what are they supposed to be competent at?

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Winnipeg Sun Editor Contemplates 9/11 Inside Job

Have you heard of the theory that the World Trade Center was brought down by controlled demolition? We just never hear about this stuff. Like "Ulysses", "Naked Lunch", and "Howl" before it, you risk a lot of hassle from the man by making "9/11 Truth" your stock in trade. It takes bravery to stand up and ask questions these days, with anti-war dissent and people who say mean things about Dick Cheney being silenced left and right. But the editors of the Winnipeg Sun, and the reprint factory that is the London Free Press, are not afraid.

With the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, it was seen that 9/11 was amazingly fortuitous to the Bush administration, elements of which had been looking for excuses to invade both countries -- for purely strategic-commercial reasons -- in the months and years prior to the attacks.

In 9/11 and American Empire: Intellectuals Speak Out (Olive Branch Press, 2007), former Brigham Young University physics professor Steven Jones argues forcefully that the nature of the collapses, the presence of large pools of molten metal in the basements of all three buildings, witness accounts of hearing explosions -- that these and other factors point to the conclusion all three buildings were brought down by controlled demolition.
This is the newspaper. What is going on?

I heard a Penn Gillette Radio podcast that seems to have disappeared from archives (how convenient!). I 100% paraphrase, but Trey Parker and Matt Stone pointed out that believers in a 9/11 inside job conspiracy have, essentially, seen too many movies and watched too much television, and have come to expect reality to follow dramatic arcs.

If you didn't figure out halfway through the movie that the villain turns out not to be whatever you thought it was at first, then you must have fallen asleep in your seat.

The drama and the tragedy of it all.

I was going to put in a clip but Youtube is overloaded right now and I can't get on. I think I know why it's like that at just this moment. Millions of people are getting a reminder that evil just isn't a function of greed, that protective services make mistakes when faced with uncertainty in extremely unusual circumstances, and that there really are mass murderers as yet uncontrolled by George W Bush.

See the astounding Gagdad Bob.

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The March of Progress

Or, The Progress of The March:

Ontario will phase out the use of "inefficient" lightbulbs within five years.

The Canadian Press has learned the provincial government will announce it will ban the sale of light bulbs it considers inefficient by 2012. It's part of the province's energy conservation program.
Guess these aren't going anywhere…

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Food Fight - second round

It took Reg nearly a month to respond to my counter-culinary smackdown and he didn't even get it right, because the rules were no meat, as documented in comments. But never mind that and instead consider Reg's discriminatory agenda. He just lies. Vote accordingly:

Before you leave your vote in the comment section below I have a terrible news for everyone. Lisa has told me that she intends to post this Smackdown at Dust My Broom and London Fog to gather more interest in the Smackdown. Don’t buy her sweet as a Nanaimo Bar head games. Lisa is poaching these sites for more votes. I care not one whit of the quaint little foggers, my fear is of the broomers. The broomers and their leader Darcey are the Mongol Hordes of the internet. Oh I’m looking at you OMMAG, Fergy, Shere Khan and dmorris. If it wasn’t for Bob and Ulli I would be afraid to go to DMB most Friday nights. A vote for Lisa is a vote for the broomers, a vote for the broomers is a vote for anarchy. A vote for Reg is a vote for Mitchieville, a vote for Mitchieville is a vote for stable corrupt governance. The choice is clear.
Smackdown the third: Cheesy goodness. Deadline May 8th.

cp: Dust My Broom

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

"It is a tale told by an idiot…"

Countless examples have been published over the years proving the commitment of the London Free Press to its long outstanding journalist-like mission to uphold the vagueness and ambiguity of its own reporters and editors as standards for the community, but the Free Press has really outdone itself in its latest online poll:



In the quest for un-meaning, question and answers collide and obliterate each other, producing a profound vacuum of significance. Fortunately, the phenomenon is local in extent.

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Go Defence

Via Volokh Conspiracy there is a good article praising defence council in respect of the Duke Lacrosse case:

Our criminal justice system does not rely solely on the fairness of the police and prosecutors to get things right. In every criminal case, there is a professional whose only obligation is to scrutinize what the police and prosecutor have done. This "professional" is a lawyer. The next time you hear a lawyer joke, maybe you'll think of the lawyers who represented these three boys and it won't seem so funny. You probably can't picture their faces and don't know their names. (They include Joe Cheshire, Jim Cooney, Michael Cornacchia, Bill Cotter, Wade Smith and the late Kirk Osborn.) That's because they put their zealous representation of their clients ahead of their own egos and fame. Without their lawyering skills, we would not today be speaking so confidently of their clients' innocence.


I have long considered defence lawyers, particularly the good ones, to be the vanguard of individual liberty. The ability to put your client ahead of yourself, to advocate for the worst our in our society and to keep the power of the state at bay is when a lawyer and the legal profession is at its best. It is when you lose this edge, when you are more concerned for your reputation than your client, when you have trouble advocating for an individual who really should be behind bars that it is time to give it up.

(My faithful reader may think am tooting my own horn, but I do limited criminal work and refer the bigger cases to more experienced and committed counsel.)

Over at Durham In Wonderland, we see this about prosecutors:

In our search for justice, prosecutors are uniquely obligated to make timely disclosure of any evidence which may tend to negate the guilt of the accused. On a daily basis, over 30,000 state and local prosecutors across the country are responsible for evaluating evidence in cases and making difficult decisions to prosecute, not prosecute, or dismiss charges previously filed when the interests of justice are best served. Sometimes justice is best served by declining to prosecute.

The confidence of the public and the very integrity of the criminal justice process depend on strict compliance with these ethical standards. To the extent that any individual prosecutor violates these high ethical standards the public confidence in our criminal justice system is undermined and the image of all prosecutors suffers
.


I have long held the view that the best prosecutors are those who put forth the Crown's case in a professional and competent manner rather than those who are interested in the wins and losses. The Crown that is over-zealous, who abuses his position or is unreasonable in pre-trail positions wastes the resources of the State and does the administration of justice a disservice.

CP @ Little Tobacco)

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Rigged Game

We had a client who, while we were representing him on an litigation matter, was paid a sum of money of which he declined to inform us. He was a crack addict. After he had cleaned himself up, we were working the file and asked him why he didn't tell us about the money. He replied, "when you're a crack head and someone gives you ten grand, you don't call anyone." He said the money lasted about a month.

The Ontario government is addicted to gambling revenues. It advertises gambling in a manner that it would never allow liquor producers or tobacco companies to so do. They run a fixed game on a monopoly level. Banning smoking in bars was easy. The government changed the laws for horse tracks and slots because revenues were down. Hypocrites? Apparently not. Gambling online, something the government is attempting to shut down, is a fair wager. The odds are set by the game (cards) or by the gamblers (horses & sports). Government gambling is designed for the return to the government. Not enough money coming through the tills, change the odds or the game. The government cannot compete on a level playing field with their ludicrous games.

The government was taking some heat for the finding that they were still telling customers they had a chance to win a certain prize after the prize was already won. Now we find that retailers of government lotto tickets have been ripping off their clients and it appears that the government was aware of the problem. Rather than call the cops they spun like crazy. The government has now nixed a public inquiry into the issue. When the government recieves information that will require the outlay of money or may affect their supply, like any addict, they don't call anyone.

The Liberals used their majority to crush a Progressive Conservative vote for a legislative inquiry into the "Lottogate" scandal yesterday, prompting opposition accusations that the government has something to hide.
The Fraser Institute reported yesterday that the average Canadian pays about 45% of their income in taxes. High on the list were the hidden taxes found on such vices liquor and cigarettes. Lotto proceeds are pure taxes. The government maintains a monopoly position, not for the reason claimed that only the benevolent government can regulate our vices, but because vices are a cash cow and the government cannot stand competition. Should there be a public inquiry? Perhaps. More importantly, the government should get out of the vice business and let people keep a little more of their money to spend on other items, vices or not, as they choose. By getting out of the lottery business they cannot guarantee that no one will be ripped off, but at least the gambler will have a fair shot at the prize.

(crossposted @ Little Tobacco)

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Monday, April 16, 2007

Last day for sale medical marijuana

Nothing says PROFIT to the savvy and ruthless entrepreneur -- on either side of the law -- quite so much as prohibition laws. The prohibition of intoxicants creates a tremendous win-win situation for crooks and cops alike. In the wide pantheon of phony laws that bring the law itself into disrepute, not even "hate crime" can compare in its cynical benefits to all concerned. Sure, "hate crime" provides the otherwise unemployable with phony jobs in the racism industry, and gives lots of free publicity to racist creeps, but the drug war is pure gold for all concerned.

Criminals love the drug war for driving up the profits on simple plant substances that would otherwise be cheaper than wheat. Their counterparts in the law enforcement business love the drug war for providing a never ending excuse for increasing budgets to accomplish the impossible, and the opportunity to go after easy targets like pot growers instead of tackling more dangerous and difficult problems like the actual violent criminals we are supposedly paying them to pursue in the first place.


Mike
When it comes to medical marijuana, the Federal government puts profits before people:
The federal government charges patients 15 times more for certified medical marijuana than it pays to buy the weed in bulk from its official supplier, newly released documents show.

Critics say it's unconscionable to charge that high a markup to some of the country's sickest citizens, who have little income and are often cut off from their medical marijuana supply when they can't pay their government dope bills.

Records obtained under the Access to Information Act show that Health Canada pays $328.75 for each kilogram of bulk medical marijuana produced by Prairie Plant Systems Inc.

The company currently has a $10.3-million contract with Health Canada, which expires at the end of September, to grow standardized medical marijuana in an abandoned mine shaft in Flin Flon, Man.

Health Canada, in turn, sells the marijuana to a small group of authorized users for $150 -- plus GST -- for each 30-gram bag of ground-up flowering tops, with a strength of up to 14 per cent THC, the main active ingredient. That works out to $5,000 for each kilogram, or a markup of more than 1,500 per cent.

[..] A spokesman for the department, Jason Bouzanis, said the quoted price of $328.75 a kilogram for bulk marijuana does not include other Health Canada costs.

"The price for individuals authorized to possess marijuana for medical purposes is based on the actual cost of production and an estimate of costs associated with the distribution of the product,'' he said, "These costs are subject to change.''

Contract records show Health Canada also pays the supplier a packaging fee of $9.06 for each 30-gram package, to cover labour and materials, as well as courier fees that are dependent on shipping volumes.
You can buy a handful of seeds and a few boxes of zip-lop bags for $9.00 from local suppliers. For those concerned about the environment, you don't even have to use a bag. Simply pick and dry the buds from the plants growing in your backyard on your kitchen counter and transfer to a glass receptacle or cloth bag for future use. No carbon is emitted because you walked instead of driving.

Oh .. sorry, you're not allowed to grow your own weed, and you're not allowed to smoke it either unless you present the bureaucrats with a doctor's note. And soon that doctor's note won't even permit you to legally grow your own. The feds are looking to expand their monopoly on medical marijuana distribution. Fine revenue for non-compliance is expected to increase, along with black market competition:
Although patients currently can grow it themselves or have someone else grow it for them, Health Canada plans to phase out these production licences sometime after 2007. That would force patients to order from Prairie Plant Systems, or take their chances with street dealers or so-called compassion clubs, which are technically illegal.

[..] Many patients say they are unhappy with the quality of the Prairie Plant System product.

"It's garbage," said Tom MacMullen, 43, of Prospect Bay, N.S., who uses marijuana for leg and back pain. "It's just so awful-tasting."
cp: Dust My Broom

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Justice, judge thyself

In a speech last week, Supreme Court Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin attributed to "ignorance" the notion that "the Charter has put law, order and public safety at risk by making it harder to convict felons and softening punishment." She is mostly right, of course — the Charter is used only rarely for get-out-of-jail-free cards, and usually only in high-profile cases defended by very expensive lawyers. It is judges and politicians that are responsible for the lax judicial treatment and punishment of dangerous criminals, and while it is true that the Charter is indulged occasionally by law-makers and law-bringers for an excuse of their lenient sympathies, it is from mistaken or tendentious beliefs.

McLachlin chose to counter ignorance, however, with an oddly weak and easily refutable claim:

"In fact, I don't believe the statistics bear out the claim that the Charter puts law, order and safety at risk."
In fact, this is a fatuous remark since there are no statistics correlating crime and the Charter, nor can there be any correlation except strictly anecdotal or rhetorical in nature. Coming from a Chief Justice, however, the comments could be taken, as by the Montreal Gazette (link via Paul Tuns), as an "incendiary assertion" given that "one national political party persistently calls itself 'the party of the Charter' and another is trying to crack down on crime." But this is only a matter of interpretation…

Nevertheless, it is aside from this that McLachlin "sailed close to the wind" in her speech, as the Gazette puts it.
"The most important thing I think is to educate the children and young people. The basics of the Canadian Constitution — including the Charter — should be mandatory learning in our schools and high schools."

… She warned that any change to the traditional relationship between judges and legislators "has the potential to harm both the legislative and the judicial branches of governance, and ultimately perhaps to undermine the peoples' confidence in democracy."
Educational policy is, however, the jurisdictional preserve of the legislative branch — in just one speech, McLachlin makes a complete hash of her credibility and assertions by trespassing on the very same "traditional relationship" that she believes to be so important to "the people's confidence in democracy." And it's not the first time that McLachlin has parted the tissue binds of the judicial branch's role in the relationship. As the Gazette suggests:
Instead of teaching just the Charter, perhaps schools should be invited — not ordered — to emphasize the difference between elected politicians and appointed judges as arbiters of what's good for democracy.
Update: Little Tobacco demonstrates in the comments why it's always a good thing to have an in-house lawyer, and why it's never good policy to try to give the Supreme Court Chief Justice even just a half-break.

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"Venezuelan bubble about to burst"

From the London Free Press:

"The combination of a lethal dependence on oil and an anti-business political agenda do not bode well for Venezuela's economy."

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Engine of Progress

From about 1955, and lifted from Curmudgeonly & Skeptical.



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Saturday, April 14, 2007

Discretion system broken, new discretion system required

"Trial fairness has … been significantly jeopardized by the cumulative effect of these breaches," said Ontario Court Justice Deborah Livingstone.
That's OK, where there's a problem in London, there's always a new problem to be found:
"It was the whole 'unwritten' thing about the discretion system that caused the confusion," the mayor said. "So now we've written it down"

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U.S. flight traffic patterns and density

Data from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration is used to create animations of flight traffic patterns and density…
Via Part 1 of Bill Whittle's Seeing the Unseen, an "examination of the value of critical thinking" (Part 2 here). Whittle uses the animation to demonstrate the selective coverage and memory of events that dramatically distorts the perspectives people use to affirm their political beliefs.

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Friday, April 13, 2007

Gentlemen, put your engines on blocks

Via SDA, US standard house prices 1890—present, adjusted for inflation and plotted as a roller coaster ride…

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Bad controversy! Bad! You go away!

At the moment, global warming is on hold. The hot grip of fear has released us for a time. Yes, it is cold, but more importantly, it's all about Don Imus now.

Although the certainty of manmade CO2 disasters may not preoccupy us at the moment, still, now, in these last critical 10 years before the tipping point to climate change disaster, it is ridiculous to focus on and feed trivialities such as publicity stunts by Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. Since we will all soon enough be baked and then drowned, surely there's not much point wasting remaining time on minutiae such as enumerating which types of people should be allowed to say which words into which microphones.

Throw off the carelessness of Jesse Jackson's youth and listen to this inconvenient truth. Courtesy The Billy, Kansas City Star reporter Jason Whitlock:


"Don Imus is irrelevant to what's going on with black people."

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

All the Mathyssen that's fit to print, and besides



It's been noted before that hardly a few days ever go by in the London Free Press without some article about London Fanshawe NDP MP Irene Mathyssen going on about this, that or another, an effect that begins to resemble editorial idolatry. It is true that Mathyssen is incapable of not going on about anything under the sun when an opportunity for media coverage exists, but why does the Free Press indulge this incontinence?

Better yet, though, why does the Free Press go so far as to manufacture excuses to showcase Mathyssen? For at least the second time, the Free Press is reporting on Mathyssen's campaign to send Tim Hortons gift certificates to the troops in Afghanistan. All fine and well, even if it smacks of opportunism coming from an NDP politician, but the Free Press has only ever covered Mathyssen's pitch — you'd think she came up with the idea. But the idea's been around for at least almost a year now, long before Mathyssen jumped on board in March of this year — I contributed myself last year in response to an email campaign. By implication, though, at least through omission, Mathyssen is getting the credit for it in the Free Press.

It's quite possible that the carcasses lying about at the Free Press, characteristically oblivious of anything going on around them, were unaware of the various drives going on in the country in support of the idea until the Mathyssen media war-room alerted them to it. If Mathyssen's number isn't on the Free Press' speed dial, then theirs is certainly on hers. In what's beginning to look like a mutually sympathetic political advertising campaign, however, it's really rather looking like both.

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Howard Hampton on the "science" of social engineering

Howard Hampton's reaction to the likely rejection of a private members bill put forth by an NDP MPP that if approved, would commit the province to meeting Kyoto targets by 2012:

NDP Leader Howard Hampton said the Liberals, who are expected to vote against the NDP's Ontario Climate Change Act, will likely adopt weaker standards than called for by Kyoto when they unveil their own climate change plan.

"We have all seen the effects of climate change -- Christmas with no snow, summer heat waves that are unprecedented, floods, freak storms, extreme and unpredictable weather conditions virtually everywhere across Ontario," Hampton said. "And virtually everywhere I go across Ontario, people tell me that they are worried."
Even more troublesome is people paying attention to soothsayers like Hampton. The weather has always been essentially unpredictable - track the accuracy of weather forecasts for a while to see. Predictably, Hampton failed to note that April temperatures are cooler than average across the province, and much of the continent for that matter. Southwestern Ontario also experienced a cold and dismal Fall, but when you are in the business of minding other people's business, only selectively chosen "facts" matter.

A few days before, Hampton blamed the Liberals for failing to protect the jobs of unionized manufacturing workers; his focus was on the 240 employees in Sudbury who will soon lose their jobs at a brake parts factory because it's cheaper to do business in China.
“A total of 240 workers in Sudbury found out the Affinia plant they work at is going to be closed in June so that Affinia can make brake motors in China. Those 240 workers have families; they have car payments and mortgages,” said Hampton, in a release.

“Those workers will be devastated by the closure, and the McGuinty Liberals did nothing to keep these jobs in Sudbury.”
I detect critical hypocrite emissions. Cars are bad for the environment, and Hampton wants to implement laws that would encourage companies to outsource to Kyoto-exempt China, though he demands the government spend your money to prevent the loss of jobs in the auto industry. To drive or not to drive: That is the burning question of the day. Subsidies potentially available upon request. Contact Mitchieville for more details.

cp: dust my broom

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What about gas bags?

It hasn't taken long for "casual discussions" at city hall about banning plastic grocery bags to become a whole lot less casual in London. Somehow it took only one day after the casual pose was formally struck in The Londoner for the London Free Press to churn out an article on the merits of the idea. A casual coincidence? Or the opening feints of a campaign of adjustment to a ban.

According to the Free Press, reasons for "action" include really really big estimated numbers ("It's estimated that Ontario uses 2.5 billion plastic bags annually and between 500 billion and a trillion plastic bags are used each year worldwide"), other places are doing it (regulation as a fashionable political accessory), and a poll released yesterday — coincidentally again — showing that "three out of five Canadians would support a law banning the use of plastic bags" (really? Canadians, it would seem, are not only complacent about government regulations but they're also quite happy to wield them against their neighbours).

Oh, and there's the "we don't need them" argument thrown in there too, by someone who doesn't need them and feels quite secure in the assumption that "I" and "we" are interchangeable in the context of advocacy-driven laws. And she is quite right to feel that way too — after all, the idea is that we won't have any choice but to not need them.

See also: Proud To Be Canadian

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The Little Tugboat On The Lake Of Tears

Via Samizdata:

That was the last time Arthur saw Faye for six days as they were both put in solitary. Guards tried to make Faye crack by cruelly telling her she was the last of the 15 being held captive.

But, speaking of the moment they were reunited, he told how he wept and begged the 26-year-old for a hug. Arthur said: "I missed Topsy most of all. I really love her, as a mum and a big sister. Not seeing her and not knowing if she was safe was one of the hardest parts of the whole thing.

"Then on the sixth day, when I was just about giving up hope, I was pulled from my bed in the early hours of the morning.

"They led me down a corridor and into a room, where I saw Topsy in a corner.

""I can't describe how that felt...just every emotion rolled into one. I ran up to her, threw my arms round her and cried like a baby.

When I'd calmed down, she asked, 'Do you need another hug, a mother hug?' and I said, 'damn right'. She was just as pleased to see me because they'd told her I'd been sent home.

"Topsy said she'd always be there for me, to protect me and look after me."

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